American Public Health Association
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Health Inequity in a Changing Climate

Imagine flooding on of top damages to or loss of property, then add a rise in disease-carrying insects putting you at risk for diseases like dengue fever or West Nile virus, followed by extreme heat and poor air quality. This describes today’s climate. Communities of color and low-income neighborhoods have a first-hand view of climate-related health inequity.

Climate change affects us all. But it disproportionately affects communities already vulnerable due to a lack of quality resources — such as employment, safe and healthy housing, education, health care, food access and more — and these communities cannot easily bounce back after an extreme weather event or a resulting disease. However, the solution for all disaster response is the same: we need to ensure everyone impacted by extreme weather events has the opportunity to attain what is needed to help them recover from the effects of climate change. Until resources are allocated to those who need them most, we will not be able to achieve health equity.
JOIN: Climate for Health 

ATTEND: Climate change sessions at the APHA Annual Meeting 

SUPPORT: The Clean Power Plan

WATCH: Climate Changes Health: Two CDC BRACE Grantees Take Steps Toward Adaptation   
How did we get here? The science is clear. When we burn fossil fuels like coal for electricity and gasoline automobiles, we release heat-trapping gas — carbon dioxide — into the atmosphere. When this gas builds up, it causes the earth’s surface temperature to rise, much like a blanket traps in heat. The extra trapped heat disrupts many of the interconnected weather systems around the world. This, in turn, creates risks to people’s health. For example, more heat in the atmosphere and oceans leads to more frequent and intense storms. Increased frequency and intensity of storms can lead to more loss of or damage to property, personal injury, disease and possibly death.

APHA is leading the way in bridging the gap between health inequities and climate impacts. This issue is APHA’s legislative priority. We promote action to support the Clean Power Plan, as well as support CDC’s BRACE, or Building Resilience Against Climate Effects, Program. APHA is also a founding partner of Climate for Health, a network of health leaders committed to protecting the health and well-being of Americans and leading by example. By joining this initiative, we are committed to implementing climate solutions within our own organization, and working together to prepare, empower and inspire our members, staff and the nation on climate change policies and solutions. We urge you to join the Climate for Health program, which provides tools and resources empowering you to lead by example with climate-friendly activities.

By supporting these and other APHA initiatives, together we can reverse the tide of climate-related health inequity. Visit our Climate Change Web page for more information about APHA’s Climate Change Program

Natasha Dejarnett signature
Natasha DeJarnett, PhD, MPH
Natasha DeJarnett

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